Vitality Super League, Saracens Mavericks 48 Leeds Rhinos 63 - Playoffs still in the picture
Leeds Rhinos maintain their chances of a playoff position after triumphing 63-48 over Saracens Mavericks at London’s Copper Box arena.
Rhinos were strong from the blocks, holding their heads high despite losing by four goals to the Mavericks earlier in the season after a tight contest.
But this game started significantly more positive for the Rhinos. Dan Ryan kept his starting seven for the encounter, with Donnell Wallam once again scoring some comfortable lay ups and turning over some important balls using her height and timing to her advantage despite still getting used to her goal shooter position after returning to the court a few games prior.
Some clinical improvement from the Rhinos saw their attacking end working hard to maintain their four-goal lead whilst Nicki Oyesola and Tuaine Keenen forced the Mavericks attacking end wide, avoiding entry through the middle channel. Rhinos continued to look comfortable throughout the second quarter, keeping their flawless partnerships intact to lead by 11 goals at half-time, 33-22.
Feeling threatened by the Rhinos lead, Mavericks made a few changes at half-time, putting England Roses defender Sasha Corbin out of her usual position and into goalkeeper to cause some disruption to player of the match, Wallam, who delivered goal after goal with her 98 per cent shooting average for the Rhinos. Ryan, however, kept his adaptable side the same.
Helping the Rhinos to run away with the game was Brie Grierson who was strong off the mark and cut raound the court to pop long balls into Wallam and Rhea Dixon who patiently waited under the post.
Ryan made a few changes, switching cautioned Emily Hollingsworth for Leeds Rhinos captain Fi Toner to ensure the Mavericks did not penetrate their tight defensive wall.
As Rhinos continued to drive to a notable win, Ryan made more, late changes, introducing Sienna Rushton as goal attack, Paige Kindred as goal defensive and Amelia hall as wing attack to help secure the Rhinos’ biggest win of the season.
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